San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.
Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.
Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself.
Review (short version):
Guaranteed to be one of my top books of the year, if not number one. I actually made myself put it down after a chapter or two each night so I wouldn’t finish too quickly. Part of the joy is going in blind and I suggest you do the same, so if the blurb interests you go read it. Now-ish. :)
Review (long version):
I’m going to say as much as I can while giving away as little as possible. Characters live and breathe in a city that does the same. The plot is wonderfully paced within an intriguing structure and the writing is as beautiful as it is unobtrusive.
Our heroines live the best life they can despite the homophobia and racism and other miasmas that hang over San Francisco in 1940. They struggle, but they are not defined by that struggle. They aren’t damaged or any less themselves. These women do what they can, do what they must, and above all, persist.
I know I haven’t done the book justice so… go. Read it. An enthusiastic, wholehearted recommend.
Thanks to Tor and NetGalley for providing a review copy.